Abstract : In this thesis, we introduce a new statistical shape model and use it for knowledge-based image segmentation. The model is represented by a Markov Random Field (MRF). The vertices of the graph correspond to landmarks lying on the shape boundary, whereas the edges of the graph encode the dependencies between the landmarks. The MRF structure is determined from a training set of shapes using manifold learning and unsupervised clustering techniques. The inter-point constraints are enforced using the learnedprobability distribution function of the normalized chord lengths.This model is used as a basis for knowledge-based segmentation. We adopt two approaches to incorporate the data support: one is based on landmark correspondences and the other one uses image region information. In the first case, correspondences between the model and the image are obtained through detectors and the optimal configuration is achieved through combination of detector responses and prior knowledge. The second approach consists of minimizing an energy that discriminates the object from the background while accounting for the shape prior. A Voronoi decomposition is used to express this objective function in a distributed manner using the landmarks of the model. Both algorithms are optimized using state-of-the art eficient optimization methods. We validate our approach on various 2D and 3D datasets of images, for computer vision applications as well as medical image analysis.